Politics/Community Involvement

In addition to a traditional focus on the public realm of governance and power structures, this theme should also reflect a feminist understanding of “the personal as political.” We are interested in women’s opinions, values, and activities as they relate to a broad sphere of social relations.

Hannah Laipson

College Professor, President of the Worcester Institute for Senior Education

But what happened was, when I taught that [first] class, I enjoyed the experience so much that, do you know the term serendipity? Something happens unexpectedly and it changes things. I decided that I really enjoyed that. But, it didn’t come to fruition until quite a number of years later because in the meantime I started having a family. Are you familiar with the writings of Betty Friedan? She was the feminist, she was the first great [modern] writer of feminism, and she wrote a book that became immensely popular. And when I read it, I decided it was time for me to do something more. So that was when I enrolled at Assumption for my Master’s degree, and from that point on, I was a teacher.

Born in 1925 in Haverhill, Massachusetts, Hannah Ethel Karp Laipson has lived in Worcester since her marriage and currently resides with her husband, a former member of the Navy during World War II. Hannah graduated from Colby College in Maine with a major in English and a minor in History. Today, Hannah is as an active member of Common Cause Massachusetts and continues to stay involved with the WISE program at Assumption College, in which she previously served as the board President and course group leader.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 11/14/2008
Name Sort: 
Laipson

Mary Jane McKenna

Former Holden Selectwoman, State Representative, and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

"I enjoyed town politics and what was going on, and met a lot of wonderful people. And then I decided I knew as much as anybody, so I ran for the Board of Selectmen for the town of Holden, and I was elected, and I served—and I was the first woman."

Interview Date: 
Mon, 11/13/2006
Name Sort: 
McKenna

Lynne McKenney Lydick

Actress in One-Woman Play on Abby Kelley Foster

"I just think that we owe the next generation much more than we’re giving them. I think the environmental issues, the human rights issues, the financial issues, I just think we owe them trying to get things straightened out before they inherit the mess.  And I also think you think differently about the future [as a mother]. It puts you in a different place. I also think as mother, as a mother of sons, it’s important that they know that women have a place, a very important place, and deserve …. a place at the table and be important in decision-making.  I find that’s quite a big responsibility, to be mother of boys."

Interviewer: 
Interview Date: 
Tue, 10/09/2007
Name Sort: 
Lydick

Virginia Swain

Peace Corps volunteer, teacher, UN worker, activist

"It’s called the Culture of Peace Initiative and actually it was started by the Nobel Peace Prize winners in the 1990s and I’ve been working with it at the UN for a number of years, but I decided I would bring it to Worcester because there’s so much potential here for hope -- people don’t see that we can get beyond our divisions…so I’m pretty excited about this and I feel a little bit more intentional here in Worcester because it’s taken me all this time to realize how I can contribute. In Worcester, it’s a very unusual and wondrous community of people who, when I first came, always asked me, why would I come here from Cambridge? I keep feeling that they don’t know the potential, there’s so much here that’s possible for Worcester."

Interviewer: 
Interview Date: 
Sun, 10/28/2007
Name Sort: 
Swain

April Murray

Admissions and Marketing Director, Radius Healthcare Center
Interviewer: 
Interview Date: 
Mon, 04/17/2006
Name Sort: 
Murray

Kelly Momberger

Environmental Engineer; Community Volunteer
Interviewer: 
Interview Date: 
Wed, 11/02/2005
Name Sort: 
Momberger

Lee Kelly

Elementary School Teacher; Manager of a Non-Profit
Interviewer: 
Interview Date: 
Fri, 10/21/2005
Name Sort: 
Kelly

Harriet Miller Hight

Civil Rights and Community Activist
Interviewer: 
Interview Date: 
Mon, 10/23/2006
Name Sort: 
Hight

Patricia Donovan

1960s Activist
Interviewer: 
Interview Date: 
Tue, 04/04/2006
Name Sort: 
Donovan

Carol Donnelly

College Professor
Interviewer: 
Interview Date: 
Sun, 11/19/2006
Name Sort: 
Donnelly

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